The student transition to college


In many ways, high school and college are like night and day, and that transition can be overwhelming for some students. But with some simple preparation, making the jump can be a lot easier for your student. This video offers four areas where they can start preparing to make the move to college so that they’re as ready as they possibly can be.

Transitioning from high school to college

In the time between searching for the right college and starting classes the first day, your student will have a lot of to do boxes to check. But becoming prepared for the transition itself, an important step, often gets lost in the shuffle. College isn't like high school, and the transition can be a lot to handle if your student isn't prepared for it. To help with the transition, your student can focus on four key areas to be successful transitioning from high school to college.


Get a planner or some other system to keep your days organized. This is one of the single most important things your student can do. College has more commitments and demands than high school and a good planner will help keep them on track.

Students should aim to build a daily routine that prioritizes academics. In fact, their planner should include their class schedule and locations, assignment due dates, exam dates, and even study time. Scheduling blocks of study time helps students account for what may seem to be free time they'll need to use to study and complete coursework.

On-campus academic resources are available to students. Your students should be familiar with these resources before they need them. This includes knowing where the library is located on campus, as well as how to sign up for tutoring services.


It's beneficial to have a financial plan before arriving on campus. When your student gets to college, they may be tempted to spend more money than they should. It's important to make sure they can afford monthly living expenses, as well as unplanned costs for food and entertainment with friends.

The first step is making a budget. A budget is fairly easy to make, and a great way for your student to assess and scrutinize their expected expenses versus income each semester. Once your student creates their monthly budget, they should get in the habit of saying no to certain things that are outside of that budget. Having a budget will help students develop habits that are in line with their financial plan.

Time management

Unlike in high school, most instructors in college won't remind your student to be in class and turn in assignments on time. This means it's your student's responsibility to be self-disciplined and have good time management skills. For each class, they should know and follow the schedule, read the syllabus from cover to cover, and pencil in their exam and assignment dates in their planner in advance.

Being organized helps. If your student is a natural procrastinator, the freedom that college offers might tempt them to procrastinate even more. How can they fight the urge to put it off until tomorrow? Help them realize that there's always something happening in college. Along with classes and studying, your student can attend sports, lectures, events, not to mention socializing with friends. With so much going on, your student will have to say no to some things. And it shouldn't be to academics. That should always come first. It might be hard at times, but once they realize that there are a million other opportunities to do cool things, saying no to some of them here and there shouldn't be as big a deal.

Stress management

Your student should have at least one healthy way to help deal with their stress. It could be going for a run, talking to a close friend or family member, or mindful meditation whenever they feel stress coming on. Ask your student to think about what their go-to stress reliever is going to be in college, so they're ready when they need it.

Students who have a network of friends, family and professors are usually better able to deal with stress than those who don't. Your student can start growing their network by joining a student club, connecting with professors at office hours, or forming a study group with other classmates. 

Sometimes students can get so busy that they don't recognize if they're starting to get stressed. A daily check-in to ask themselves how they're feeling and if they're stressed or overwhelmed is a proactive way to manage stress. If they are, then they should do something about it. It might help to engage in their chosen strategy to manage stress.

To help keep stress at bay, it's important for your student to make room in their day for things they enjoy. If things get a bit too overwhelming for your student, they should consider talking to a counselor, because sometimes just having someone to talk to can make all the difference. Fortunately, most colleges offer professional counseling services.

The transition to college is always going to be somewhat challenging. By following these tips and being as prepared as possible, your student will be more successful going through the transition.